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Erm… Just Scan It, Colin?

Posted 6th July 2011

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Piss poor. But move on.

I presume it’s not just me who has a list of sitcoms they wish they’d been at recordings of. From Fawlty Towers to Blackadder to Men Behaving Badly, for me the list extends even to specific episodes of a series. The fact I will never see the Red Dwarf episode Back To Reality recorded pains me immensely.

Another sitcom on the list is the vastly underrated The Brittas Empire. A few years back, however, someone eBayed their audience ticket and leaflet given out at the show – and I now present this material which I have refused to allow to become ephemera. Click for bigger versions:

Brittas Empire ticket - front
Brittas Empire ticket - back

One of the TRAGEDIES OF MODERN BRITAIN is that nicely designed audience tickets have been replaced with scrappy bits of paper printed out on your office printer. Love the picture used here for the ticket – a tiny slice of Brittas rarely seen. It could have formed the basis of some wonderful DVD covers, rather than, well, this.

Hmmm – gets me thinking about creating a database of audience ticket scans. Anyone up for contributing?

Meanwhile, here’s the programme leaflet given out at the audience recording, signed by Chris Barrie no less – again, click for the full size version:

Brittas leaflet - Cover
Brittas Empire - Inside

This is Episode 3, Series 5 – Brussels Calling – and it was indeed broadcast on the 14th November (1994). The leaflet is not especially well-written (or, indeed, punctuated) – and whilst a brief discussion of the situation of the series is understandable, the episode synopsis is not. Wouldn’t you want the studio audience to, y’know, discover the story as they watch? It’s not like you have to reel them in like a Radio Times listing – they’re already sitting there…

The credits are pretty much as in the final episode, with some slight reordering at the end – although amusingly, “Frenchman” and “Dutchman” are renamed as “French Speaker” and “Dutch Speaker” for the broadcast credits. I prefer the originals. It’s also extremely pleasing to see the legendary Bobby Bragg did the warm-up – who, incidentally, appeared as a removal man in the seventh episode of this series, UXB.

I haven’t been given a leaflet like this in any of the sitcom recordings I’ve been at. When did they stop? And has anyone got any other examples lying around?

Oh, and for anyone without the DVD who may be on tenterhooks as to the outcome of the episode, here you go:

The Brittas Empire screengrab - Leisure Centre explosion

The Brittas Empire, there.

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Ian Symes on 7 July 2011 @ 11am

Woah woah woah. “Shepherd’s Bush Station (Metropolitan Line)”? That’s referring to what’s now called Shepherd’s Bush Market, which is on the Hammersmith and City line. Now, the line did used to be known as a branch of the Metropolitan, but was renamed H&C in 1988. The BBC were giving out information that was six years out of date.

Mr Jacobi on 7 July 2011 @ 2pm

That’s how I used to do the programmes for my local youth theatre group. Those same fonts, and the same use of boxes. It’s all change now.